Feb 16, 2015

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SXSW: An Experience to Remember

There are some moments in your life that you will want to remember for years to come. They will be days that you will want to document, to tell your children and your children’s children, and so on. These are days filled only with great joy and exuberance – one of those rare days when you hardly have to lift a finger and everything is only laughter, a childlike excitement, and a wonder beyond all measure.

An example of such an event would be South by Southwest (SXSW). What is SXSW, you might be asking? It’s only one of the most sought after and celebrated events in the world – attracting a massive influx of guests from a massive, global scale. It is an event that centers on the culture of film, music, and interactive media – allowing for people all over the world to get together, learn from each other, as well as providing an opportunity for artists and enthusiasts alike to celebrate one another’s art and accomplishments.

It is attendedAustin limousine rentals for South by Southwest by some of the best and brightest in the industry as the more seasoned professionals can offer insight and career advice to budding artists and some of the newer voices can have the opportunity to speak up, be seen, and heard! This is the place to be – and many attendees spare no expense when they arrive in Austin.

There is far too much to see, there is so much to do, and so many people to meet that transportation around Austin at around this time can be near impossible. Consider walking or biking if possible.

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Jan 20, 2015

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Cruise Ship Accident

For the past 10 years, the cruising industry has continued to be a very lucrative business as passengers only tend to increase every year, already having at least 11 million passengers from the US alone. Two major reasons that can probably explain the continuous growth in the cruising business are the exotic and beautiful cruise destinations and the major improvements on cruise ships, which virtually turn these into mini cities while simultaneously ensuring comfort.

Many of today’s cruise ships provide great fun and enjoyment that being on any one of these is itself an experience to cherish already. To make even time at sea perfectly great, many cruise ships are designed with a duty free shop, bars, pubs and nightclubs, buffet restaurants, an aqua healthspa fitness center, hair and beauty salon, indoor and/or outdoor swimming pool with water slides, cinemas, casino, gym, basketball courts, pool tables, ping pong tables, and other sports facilities, a library, a mini golf course, wall climbing and zip line facilities, and so forth. There is no doubt about the fun and adventure that a cruise holiday can deliver, provided that no tragedy occurs which can turn a jaunty experience into a nightmarish one.

Though cruise ship tragedies rarely occur, the effects can be devastating if one ever happens. While the usually identified causes of sea accidents are hurricanes, sea storms, rogue waves, collision with another sea vessel, running aground, striking an iceberg, attack by sea pirates, virus outbreak and fire, the most common among these would seem to be cruise ship fire.

A fire onboard can leave a cruise liner floating in the sea without power, air-conditioning and/ or a working septic system. Most fires start in the engine room, due to a leak in the fuel oil return line; however, there have also been instances when fire started in the generator room, boiler room or cabin.

In the event of an accident, filing a civil lawsuit for the compensation that a victim is legally allowed to receive is not simple, though. This is because besides the statute of limitation, or the duration of time within which the lawsuit will need to be filed, there is also the concern of jurisdiction, which means where a lawsuit may be filed.

Cruise ships indicate in their ticket contract the forum selection clause, which identifies the only place where a lawsuit may be filed; many cruise liners name the US District Court (in the Southern District of Florida) for this concern. If the accident occurred on land, during a shore excursion, however, then the details leading to the filing of a lawsuit can change altogether. Thus, due to the complexity and unique conditions of the maritime law, being represented by a personal injury lawyer becomes an absolute necessity, especially if the injured victim is not a resident of the state where the lawsuit has to be filed.

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Dec 4, 2014

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Defective Truck Accidents

Two men were seriously injured, one fatally, when the brakes of a semi failed and crashed into the victims’ pickup while traveling on a highway in Wsiconsin.

The truck accident happened at the intersection of Highway E and Highway 48 in McKinley Township. The driver of the semi claimed that he had applied his brakes at the intersection but it failed to catch, sending the heavy truck barreling across the intersection and hitting a Chevrolet pickup which was on Highway 48. The impact forced the semi and the pickup truck onto the southwest ditch, with the men in the pickup pinned to the vehicle. They had to be extracted and one man died of his injuries in Cumberland Memorial Hospital.

Such truck accidents are unfortunately common in US highways. According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, an encounter with big rig does not usually go well for the occupants of the smaller vehicle, which is why trucking companies are subject to stringent safety rules and regulations. In many cases, truck accidents are due to the negligence of the driver, the truck company, the truck manufacturer, the parts manufacture, or all of them in varying degrees.

In this particular instance, the driver may not be held liable if it turns out that the brakes had failed through poor maintenance or defect, and that the driver was not responsible for the maintenance or servicing of the truck in any way. In all likelihood, the injured parties may file a lawsuit against one or more of the following parties: the brake part manufacturer, the person charged for maintenance of the vehicle, the truck company, and the truck manufacturing company.

If you sustained significant physical injury and investigations show that negligence was involved, you may have earned the right to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your area as soon as possible.

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Oct 26, 2014

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The Problem of K-2

What’s worse than marijuana? “Fake” marijuana!

There had been a recent outbreak of emergency room visits by people who have overdosed on synthetic cannabinoids, popularly called synthetic marijuana and known on the streets as K-2 or Spice. About a hundred people in Austin and Dallas were admitted over 5 days for this reason earlier in the year, and many of them were teens. These “drugs” are usually dried leaves sprayed with a cocktail of chemicals that simulate the effects of marijuana. Unlike the natural cannabis, however, overdosing is easily accomplished with K-2.

Texas first encountered the drug in 2011 when three healthy 16-year-old males were admitted for chest pains that later turned out to be heart attacks. They had been smoking K-2 prior to the event. Texas, following the example of the Drug Enforcement Agency, promptly passed statutes to outlaw the identified chemical substances that created the effects of marijuana placing the following as Schedule I controlled substances: cannabicyclohexanol, JWH -018, CP-47,497, JWH-200, and JWH-073. Schedule I drugs are among the most restrictive of controlled substances. Anyone found in possession of these substances are subject to criminal prosecution.

However, manufacturers of synthetic marijuana simple repackage or reformulate their product so that it skirts the legal statutes. It is often labeled “not intended for human consumption” and sold as herbal incense or potpourri in gas stations, smoke shops, convenience stores and online. Notwithstanding that marijuana is not considered as serious as K-2, it is easier to get arrested for possession of marijuana than possession of the above Schedule I substances. Any Austin criminal defense attorney knows how rare a charge is brought for possession of synthetic marijuana.

If you are charged with possession of marijuana, you cannot argue that at least it’s not K-2. You will still face heavy penalties, so ask for a competent marijuana possession lawyer as soon as you are formally charged.

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Sep 25, 2014

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The Jones Act and Shipyard Accidents

A recent ruling by district court has effectively expanded a federal maritime law to include specific types of shipyard workers within its scope by redefining a critical term. The Fifth Circuit handed down a ruling last March 10, 2014 in the case Naquin v. Elevating Boats, LLC which upheld the determination of the jury in a lower court that the plaintiff Naquin, a vessel repair supervisor, was as a seaman under the Jones Act, therefore qualifying him with the help of a maritime lawyer to recover for damages for his injuries incurred while operating a crane that was on land.

The Fifth Circuit ruling will have a massive impact on insurance companies, shipyard operators, and shore-based workers. Prior to the ruling shore-based shipyard workers were only entitled to injury compensation under the Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) to a degree equivalent to regular workers’ compensation in other industries. The Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act of 1920) is a federal law which, among other maritime related issues, entitles seamen to recover damages for injuries incurred through the negligence of ship owners. Shore-based shipyard workers were not considered seamen because they typically spent most of their time shielded from the dangers generally associated with maritime travel i.e “perils of the sea” simply by not being aboard a vessel that actually puts out to sea. However, the Fifth Circuit applied the two-pronged Chandris test (Chandris, Inc., v. Latsis, 1995) to determine if Naquin satisfied the definition of a seaman under the Jones Act.

As the plaintiff spent at least 70% of his time working on board one of the vessels in the defendant’s fleet to maintain and repair it, the court determined that he did satisfy the requirements of contributing to the function of the vessel and having a substantial relationship to a vessel in navigable waters in terms of duration and nature. The court also cited a previous case in which the plaintiff, a crane operator on a river barge, was held to be a seaman under the Jones Act. If you were seriously injured while on the job as a shore-based maritime worker as a result of negligence, you too may qualify to recover damages under the Jones Act. Consult with an experienced maritime lawyer to find out if you satisfy the requirements.

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